Play About Adoption: Let’s Say They Did Their Research

From left, the playwright Tanya Barfield, the actress Kerry Butler and the Primary Stages artistic director, Andrew Leynse. (NYT)

The New York Times


They didn’t see eye to eye on everything, but on one pivotal moment the playwright, Tanya Barfield, and her lead actress, Kerry Butler, agreed: When Ms. Butler’s character finally receives the photo of the child she hopes to adopt, the scene needed to be extended for a beat, or two, or three.

“It’s weird how you can even fall in love with a photograph and start showing it around or just start looking at it dozens of times in a day,” Ms. Butler said. Both women were intimately familiar with the issues — race and parenthood — raised by Ms. Barfield’s new drama, “The Call,” which depicts a white couple mulling whether to adopt a child from Africa. Ms. Barfield’s son and daughter were adopted from Ethiopia, as were Ms. Butler’s two daughters, the youngest of whom arrived last summer.

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